A breed is a collection on individual within a species which share a certain number of morphological and physiological characters which are passed into their progeny as long as they breed among themselves. There are many breeds of sheep but these are generally subclassed as wool class. Hair class meat class and dairy class variety breeds. Dual-purpose breeds are bred for both wool and meat.
The Nigerian breeds are mainly the hairy type and there are four breeds: the west African dwarf: yankasa. Uda and Balami however, other breeds which are of less importance exist which include the Bororo and the Ara-Ara found in Niger and Anambra states.
This breed of sheep has also been called the Bororo various times because it is associated with the people of Borno tribe. Balami is the features. It is big predominantly white with a convex facial profits. Ears large and droopy the fail is thin and long. Males have horns while horns are absent in females. Matured males have dewlap Balami is a fast growing animal with a good potential for milk production. (About 3-5kg) for singles 2.5-3.5kg for twins). Weaning weight of 18kg is possible at 12 weeks of age. Yearling weight is 35-45kg for ewe and 45-60kg for rams. Its ability to survive under arid conditions is a character peculiar to this breed and can be exploited in the utilization of non arable lands.
Also called the Fulani or Bali-Bali. This breed is found throughout the sahel and savanna zones of tropical Africa. The cost colour is black or brown in front and white behind. They are large in size with matured males measuring up to 84cm height at withers. The breed is long legged thin and long tailed with a moderately long. Floppy ears males carrying horn which could be large emerging sideways and slightly backwards with a Taoist mature rams weight 55kg while females weigh 45kg. this breed thrives best in hot dry environment it is particularly adapted to extensive grazing and is known for its trekking ability. Uda its suffers poor survival outside domain medium size breed.
This is perhaps the most numerous and widely distributed Nigerian breed of sheep. Yankasa is found throughout the sahel. Sudan and guinea savanna zones. It is intermediate between large long legged uda and Balami and short legged west Africa dwarf. The breed has a typical white cost colour with black patches around the eyes ears and muzzle and sometimes the feet. Ewes may have pass around the neck. Males have which is curved. Matured rams weigh 30- 45kg and ewes 25-30kg.
West African Dwaft sheep.
Also called fouta Djallon. Djallonke this breed is found in the whole area of the forest betl. The breed strives well in its area of occurrence which is known to be infected with testes fly hence the assertion that is the breed is trypo-tolerant matured female have tassels while matured males have spiral or crescent shaped horns and a heavy mane. The breed has a slow growth rate maturity and cessation of growth is between 18 24 months. The breed is highly prolific and incidence of twining is high (55-58%) matured females weigh 20-25kg and matured males weigh 20m-30kg.
The Bororo is a large-long legged breed of sheep said to have originated f from chad. It has white posterior and pendulous white ears. Mature weight is between 45 and 55kg.
The Ara-ara also known as Tuareg has its origin from Nigeria and is predommantly white or fawn. The rams of the sheep breeds have horns but polled strains could be existing as had been found with the west African Dwarf sheep.
Experience has shown that the different breeds of sheep are adapted and perform best in their specific ecological zones. Because of the variations in the amount of rainfall. Temperature and relative humidity all of which indirectly affect performance farers are advised to raise those breeds that predominate in their ecological zones. Thus while the Yankasa and Uda are suitable for the Guinea and Sudan zone. The west African Dwarf and Yankasa breeds should be raised in the humid forest and Derived savanna zones.